Relations between the governments of the United States, Russia, and many European nations have for some time been tense, conflict-ridden, and subject to unpredictable variations. This is a matter of concern to increasing numbers of policymakers and members of the public in affected countries and beyond. The task of improving relations is, therefore, a vital necessity. It has resulted in a group of conflict specialists from Russia, Europe, and the United State acting together to explore the deep-rooted social, cultural, and psychological causes of long-term hostility between the parties, and to devise new methods of mitigating these causes and conditions.

The immediate objectives of this project include:

  • A series of facilitated dialogues to analyze the deeper historical, social and cultural causes of alienation; to propose concrete policies and programs to mitigate or ameliorate these causes; and to produce joint publications and media products reflecting these understandings, as well as other longer-term products.
  • Initial dialogues will focus on the historical and cultural causes of alienated relationships, and political and social-psychological factors contributing to the continued worsening of relations. Explorations of underlying causes will be followed by discussion of specific policies and programs proposed to mitigate those causes.
  • Subsequent dialogues will focus on studies of cases currently in dispute between the parties. The emphasis will be on methods of conflict management or resolution found to be effective in similar cases or in the case at hand.  The discussion will end by considering the more general applicability of these methods to other disputed issues.

Culminating this phase of the project will be examination of the policy implications of the issues addressed, with an emphasis on the possibility of developing long-term people-to-people programs capable of altering the underlying causes of distrust and hostility.   This phase will also lay concrete plans for joint written publications and other media productions that will contribute to the goal of generating healthy and cooperative relations between the parties.

This effort is being undertaken in collaboration with faculty from conflict resolution programs at George Mason University and American University, and representatives of research institutes in Europe and Russia.

Director: Dr. Hrach Gregorian